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How To Handle Fleas on Dogs

For their small size, fleas can cause significant problems once they invade your home. These tiny, wingless insects feed on the blood of their hosts, causing irritation and itching that can drive both you and your dog crazy. Beyond the itchiness, fleas can transmit dangerous diseases to animals and humans. Here's how to spot, treat, and prevent fleas on your dog.

How To Spot Fleas on Dogs

If your dog is scratching and biting at their skin, especially around the backside and hind legs, fleas might be the culprit. Here’s how to confirm their presence:

  • Check for Flea Dirt: Flea dirt, or flea poop, appears as small black specks on your dog’s skin. You can use a fine-toothed flea comb to look for these specks, typically around your dog’s rear end.

  • Look for Live Fleas: Although live fleas are small and fast, making them hard to spot, using a flea comb can help you find and remove them. How To Handle Fleas on Dogs

  • Observe Behavioral Signs: Excessive scratching, biting, and visible irritation are strong indicators of flea infestation.

Once you’ve identified fleas, it’s essential to take swift action to remove them.

How To Get Rid of Fleas Fast in How To Handle Fleas on Dogs

Dealing with fleas requires a multi-step approach:

  1. Flea Comb:

  • Daily Checks: Use a flea comb daily to remove fleas, eggs, and flea dirt. Conduct this in the bathtub to wash away any fleas and eggs.

  • Dipping in Soapy Water: After every few strokes, dip the comb in soapy water to kill the fleas you’ve captured.

  1. Medications:

  • Oral Flea Medications: These are highly effective and start working quickly, often within the first few hours. Options include Simparica®, NexGard®, Bravecto®, and Credelio®. For immediate, short-term relief, over-the-counter options like Capstar® can be used.

  • Topical Flea Medications: Applied to the back of your dog’s neck, these treatments take longer to work (12–48 hours) but can be effective. Prescription options include Revolution® and Bravecto®.

  1. Dog Flea Shampoo and Sprays:

  • Medicated Shampoos: These can provide instant relief by killing fleas on contact. Follow up with a prescription medication for long-term prevention.

  1. Treating the Home:

  • Vacuum Frequently: Vacuum your home, focusing on upholstered furniture, carpets, rugs, and baseboards. Dispose of the vacuum contents in a sealed bag outside your home.

  • Wash Bedding: Wash pet bedding regularly in hot water and dry on high heat.

  • Home Sprays and Foggers: Use products specifically designed to kill fleas in the home. Look for pet-safe options. How To Handle Fleas on Dogs

Preventing Fleas on Dogs in How To Handle Fleas on Dogs

Preventing fleas is easier than eliminating them once they’ve invaded. Here’s how to keep your dog and home flea-free:

  • Regular Preventative Medication: Use monthly flea and tick preventatives year-round. This is essential to protect your dog from fleas and other parasites.

  • Environmental Control: Keep your home and yard clean. Regularly wash pet bedding and vacuum frequently.

By staying vigilant and proactive, you can protect your dog from the discomfort and health risks posed by fleas. For more detailed information and advice, visit

Doig in bath tub
Doig in bath tub


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